Ah, the fall. When we think of that time of year, a whole bunch of evocative themes immediately pop into our minds and collective consciousness. There’s the attractive changing of colors as trees shed their leaves in preparation for winter; the colder weather creeping in; longer nights and shorter days; cable-knit sweaters; and hot coco, just to name a few.
With all of these stimulating things going on, it’s no surprise, then, that fall is an ideal time for photography. Think of all of the things you can put your lens in front of that you couldn’t before. You have the wondrous contrast courtesy of the changing fall colors, and you can play around with the light as dusk sneaks in earlier and earlier.
Time to Catch That Golden Light
In the fall, the best shooting light can generally be found at two times during the day: the morning and evening. This so-called “golden light” can really be a big help in getting the best shots possible.
If there’s a time of day that you want to avoid, conversely, it’s midday. Midday usually produces situations where direct sunlight becomes a factor. This creates excessively harsh images, which you’ll only find out about too late—in post-processing.
Patterns and Contrasts Involving Colour
As mentioned above, fall is memorable for the rich colours the season always produces. Ask anyone what he thinks of when he hears the word “fall”, and the typical response you’ll get is a reference to the changing colours of the season.
Using patterns and contrasts is an ideal way to get the most out of shooting these stellar fall colours. A simple-yet-effective example is reddish, bright trees contrasted against an evergreen background. Not only does such a scene aggressively “pop” due to the stark difference in colours, but it also works in highlighting the attractive differences in patterns.
When you’re shooting details in this situation, be sure to get the most out of your shot. Always stick with a minimalistic philosophy and a shallow field of depth. You want to isolate your subject to make things as simple as possible.
Rely on a Telephoto Lens
Fall photography will see you trying to zoom in a lot on different patterns in the landscape. This makes a world of sense because landscapes simply come alive in the spectacular scenery and color palette that the season brings with it. A telephoto lens comes in handy when you want to get in close on the interesting patterns in the fall landscape.
Don’t limit yourself to only one size of lens: use a wider lens if there is a bigger amount of color in a broad expanse of landscape that you want to all cram into your frame! After all, you only get one chance in the whole year to shoot this wonderful contrast of colours.
Give Your Pictures a Colour Boost
The recurrent theme in this article has obviously been the dazzling fall colours that are everywhere in the season. To take advantage of this natural spectacle, see if your digital camera has some saturation tools. If your particular digital camera lets you play around with the saturation, adjust it so that you can enhance how colours appear in your fall photos. Usually, just a small increase in the saturation will suffice.
Alternately, you can always try to make your colours pop a bit more during the post-processing phase. There are different post-processing tools around to help you improve the colours in your fall photography.
A good example would be Adobe Photoshop, particularly its LAB colour space. It’s amazing how even a subtle colour enhancement in post-processing can save ordinary images and turn them into something truly outstanding.
All Weather Conditions Are Welcome
Some photographers understandably shy away from the more inclement weather conditions such as rain, sleet and snow. Other photographers simply won’t deal with specific types of conditions, like fog, out of fear that they will mess with the aesthetic beauty of an otherwise good shot.
However, nothing could be further from the truth—in fall photography, you want to embrace as many diverse weather conditions as you can! Variety is the spice of life, right? So, too, with fall photography: The more types of weather that you can include in your shots – fog, rain, clouds, etc… – the more interesting your fall shots will look.
Fog will add both intrigue and mystery to your shots; clouds and rain will incorporate some dramatic flair into your pictures. To give your fall photography more personality in the way of heightened character, you should bravely try shooting in all sorts of weather patterns.
You Don’t Need to Go Far
When a season starts, its influence can be found anywhere and everywhere, even in your own backyard or local park. Don’t think for a second that you have to drive to some pristine wilderness to get the nicest fall shots. It’s really more about technique and time of the day than anything else.
So before you even think of piling into your station wagon before the crack of dawn on a fall day to drive to a remote preserve or trail, look to your immediate surroundings. You’ll be surprised at how you can capture the fall colors and light in all their glory… right from your backyard or neighborhood park.
Take Advantage of What Fall Offers
The fall season brings with it cooler weather, less daylight… and phenomenal picture-taking opportunities. Even if you’re not a photographer who likes shooting the outdoors, you should make an exception just for this brilliant time of the year.
So put on that jacket, bring along that thermos of hot coffee and, of course, your digital camera. Your own community comes alive at this time of the year with a series of one-of-a-kind shooting opportunities that any good photographer would be dying to capture.